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A well-conducted team-building session can improve morale and boost productivity. Host team-building activities to bond a group of people and eliminate potential conflicts. Plenty of team-building exercises exist that do not require props and apply to many types of teams and individuals. When moderating team-building games, pay attention to the body language of participants to ensure everyone feels comfortable and safe throughout the process.
Begin any team-building session with icebreakers to prevent awkward situations and help participants feel comfortable with one another right away. The game, Popcorn, is an example of an icebreaker that doesn’t require props. In this game, each person asks a question and call on someone else to answer it. After answering, it is that person’s turn to ask a question of someone else. Keep questions trivial and fun, such as favorite movie or food. Another example is arranging participants in a circle. Ask individuals to take turns introducing themselves using the “3 P’s,” which involves sharing a piece of personal information about themselves, followed by something about their profession and a peculiar detail about their experiences or interests.
Engage in team-building activities to establish trust and camaraderie within a group. Trust helps individuals who work or live together become more productive. This bond eliminates potential conflict as people learn that their coworkers or classmates have their best interest in mind. Work on team-building without props by playing games that encourage trust. For example, ask one member of the group to stand blindfolded and fall backwards into the arms of the others. Learning that you can trust a group of people to break your fall transfers to other areas of life.
Arrange activities in which participants share important information with one another and develop honest and open communication channels. Whether you are conducting team-building activities for office staff or a high school class, people that communicate well with one another get more done and encounter fewer personal and professional problems during their interactions. For example, play a game that resembles speed dating but emphasizes communication. Pair everyone in the group with a partner and ask them to converse about any subject they desire for five minutes. Ask everyone to switch conversation partners and repeat until all participants have had a chance to speak to everyone else. Members of the group can get to know each other better and obtain a sense of one another’s communication patterns.
Once trust and communication have been established within a group, encourage members to participate in additional team-building activities to establish a sense of intimacy. Willingly sharing personal information helps bond a group and create a heightened sense of community. Activities that revolve around group intimacy are best exercised with individuals who are already acquainted rather than people who have just met. An example of team-building that encourages intimacy is the Circle Game. Ask participants to stand in a circle and step forward if the statements you read aloud apply to them. Tailor the statements to the demographic with which you are working. For example, for team-building amongst high school students, make relatable statements, such as “I sometimes doubt I can get into a good college.” Students that step forward will be comforted to learn that their classmates share many of the same fears.
- "Team-Building Activities for Every Group"; Alanna Jones; 2000
Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.